The fight against what many upstanding members of the media have called “disinformation” has gained a new ally.
Now enters former President Barack Obama.
Obama appeared last week at The Atlantic’s conference on “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy.” Sounds pretty serious. While speaking about the dangers and harm of disinformation campaigns, Obama defined it as “a systematic effort to either promote false information, to suppress true information, for the purpose of political gain, financial gain, enhancing power, suppressing others, targeting those you don’t like.”
That’s a pretty good definition. It’s also a rare moment of self-reflection from the former president.
Obama also got the fluff treatment on this topic from CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, a reporter who spends most of his days wandering around Trump rallies with a microphone searching out those with kooky beliefs. It’s a practice not new to CNN. Sullivan states how “Eric Schultz, an Obama adviser, said the former President views disinformation as a ‘through line for all of the challenges we face right now,’ including the pandemic, climate change and racial injustice. And for Obama, Schultz added, the ‘arc of this issue also tracks the arc of his public life’ — while social media helped get Obama elected in 2008, the misinformation that spread on different platforms also accelerated during his time in office.”
The poor former president lamented “the degree with which information, disinformation was being weaponized” during his time in office, facing everything from questions about his birthplace to associations with legal and ethically questionable cronies.